Master Liquid Storage Operations with Digital Twin Technology

by , | Jun 6, 2023 | Chemical, Oil & Gas | 0 comments

Competing in the modern, competitive liquid storage market means keeping customers happy, a task that is difficult to accomplish using a traditional model of terminal operation. Efficiency is the name of the game, and most terminals today simply don’t have access to the high numbers of experienced personnel necessary to stay competitive.

However, as Ryan Thompson explains in his recent article in Tanks & Terminals, today’s personnel shortage is no reason to give up on striving for the efficient operation that keeps a facility’s schedule full 24×7. Forward-thinking terminals are looking to digital twin-based terminal scheduling and optimization software to help them run the most efficient operations possible, even with a skeleton crew.

Predicting success to overcome complexity

Today’s terminals are more complex than ever. The spider web of pipes, different sized tanks, valves, and more running across even a small terminal, is extremely difficult to manage manually—via a spreadsheet or other cumbersome records. But industrial software solutions can not only manage the complex operations, they can run them very close to constraints for optimal efficiency. And, when those software solutions are based on digital twin technology, they can do it all in advance, to predict the most efficient solutions based on all the facility’s needs. Ryan explains,

“Operators using terminal scheduling software create a schedule, including all product movement activities, for the desired length of time. The software then runs the simulation to see whether the plan is feasible. If a problem is predicted in the physical world, such as an overfilled tank, the software will return an error, letting the user know what would happen and why. Armed with that knowledge, the schedule can be easily adjusted and run through the simulation again, without the risk of real-world safety or efficiency impacts.”

Leveraging knowledge

The basic benefits of the prediction power of terminal scheduling and optimization software are obvious. If the software can predict the best schedules for operations, personnel are freed for more important tasks, and are also able to run the most efficient schedule possible. They drive more product through the facility, increasing profitability and reputation.

Manual scheduling of terminal operations is complex and error prone.

However, there are additional, less obvious benefits to employing terminal scheduling and optimization software. Digital twin terminal software also does away with old, complex spreadsheets, reducing the risk that when an experienced employee leaves—the only one who knew how to use the spreadsheet—the terminal loses the ability to efficiently schedule. New personnel are much easier to onboard with intuitive technology that walks them through the steps they need and inherently helps to prevent operator errors.

You can learn more about how terminal scheduling software improves operations by reading Ryan’s article in full at Tanks & Terminals. There you will learn more about the intricacies of how the best software, like Emerson’s TerminalScheduler™, builds a foundation for improved customer experiences.




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